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Welcome to Contrary Frog

Image credit: “Another "Neighbor” by Usonian is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 There's a Korean folktale about a young frog who never listens to his mother, always doing the opposite of what he's told. Then his mother falls ill and before she dies, knowing her son, she asks him to bury her by the river … Continue reading Welcome to Contrary Frog

#16 – september 18: are we “post”?

Clearly not. There was a moment this summer, sometime in June or July when the vaccine became available for kids 12 and over, when there seemed to be a collective unclenching, a sigh of relief as we returned to some limited gatherings indoors and looked forward to a much better school year. People traveled and … Continue reading #16 – september 18: are we “post”?

#15 – august 27: funeral for a hamster

In early April 2020, when we knew lockdown wasn’t going to be for just a few weeks, I posted about our deciding to get a new hamster after my younger son had lost two in quick succession. I wrote then, “Whatever happens, I will be grateful if Potato gets us through this pandemic.” Turns out … Continue reading #15 – august 27: funeral for a hamster

#14 – may 20: bartleby the seventh grader

“Can you keep your camera on during class?” I would prefer not to. “How about catching up on your homework assignments today?” I would prefer not to. “It’s a beautiful day; you should get outside.” I would prefer not to. “Do you want to meet up with a friend today?” I would prefer not to. … Continue reading #14 – may 20: bartleby the seventh grader

#13 — february 14: J. Hillis Miller, a remembrance

I found out from a Facebook post that famed literary critic J. Hillis Miller had died of Covid on Feb. 7 at age 92. Professor Miller was my dissertation advisor at UC Irvine, where I was in graduate school for most of the ‘90’s. By the time I’d enrolled in his seminar, he’d been a … Continue reading #13 — february 14: J. Hillis Miller, a remembrance

#12 – december 31: ending the year in a pandemic

Every year I put together a family photo calendar with photos from the previous year arranged in chronological order month by month. 2021’s January page features pictures of us at the Chicago Botanic Garden Lightscape show and February features my younger son’s birthday party at a trampoline place that I doubt is still in business. … Continue reading #12 – december 31: ending the year in a pandemic

#11- november 25: giving thanks in a pandemic

What is the right way to give thanks in a pandemic? There are the obvious things to be thankful for: our health, our jobs, a warm house, plenty of food, each other. And there are the obvious ways not to do it: gathering in groups with those outside your household; not wearing your mask; letting … Continue reading #11- november 25: giving thanks in a pandemic

#10 – october 8: moving in a pandemic (part 2)

I’m working on a longer post about finally moving into our house after the roller coaster experience of getting through the underwriting process. But for now, in the midst of the upheaval of the national news, which seems to bring fresh horror and outrage (and some schadenfreude) nearly every hour, worn out from trying to … Continue reading #10 – october 8: moving in a pandemic (part 2)

#9 – august 25: moving in a pandemic (part 1)

Trying to sell a place while you’re still living in it is like living in a hotel and being the housekeeping staff at the same time. Every time we get a message from our realtor that someone has requested a showing, we are driven into a frenzy of cleaning and decluttering. Usually we get a … Continue reading #9 – august 25: moving in a pandemic (part 1)

#8 – july 26: schooling in a pandemic

Back in May, as we approached the date for “phase 3”of “Restore Illinois,” I started a post about reopening, but never finished it. One of the questions I asked in trying to wrap my mind around what a reopening might look and feel like was: Will there actually be an “after”? Well, here we are … Continue reading #8 – july 26: schooling in a pandemic

#7 – april 24: watching my children leave for another world

How much screen time is too much? Asking for a friend. Ha, ha, no, I’m asking for me. Our kids used to have reasonable limits – about a half hour of video games on weeknights, about an hour or two on Fridays and Saturdays. My favorite was screen-free Sundays, where they knew not to even … Continue reading #7 – april 24: watching my children leave for another world